Atelier 3 - Sécurité nationale et renseignement : perspectives canadiennes et comparées



W309 - National Security & Intelligence: Foreign Interference in Elections

Date: Jun 13 | Heure: 08:30am to 10:00am | Salle:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Holly Garnett (Royal Military College)


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Public reactions to foreign interference in Canadian elections and society: Peter Loewen (University of Toronto)
Abstract: Evidence increasingly suggests that foreign governments are actively intervening in Canadian elections, politics, and societies? How does the public react to this interference? Who do they hold responsible, and what do they want done? This presentation will share data from an ongoing large-scale study tracking exposure to and reactions to foreign interference in Canada. The project combines ~25,000 survey responses with multiple survey experiments and extensive social listening data.


Regulating Election Communication: Policy Responses in 6 Countries: Chris Tenove (University of British Columbia)
Abstract: Social media platforms expand how citizens can engage in politics, but they may also be used to undermine full and fair democratic participation. In many elections, platforms have enabled foreign interference, threats against politicians, and disinformation campaigns about voting processes and political issues. Governments around the world have responded with policies to protect election integrity and democratic participation. However, government regulations and platforms’ own policies have provoked concerns about issues including election fairness and freedom of expression. This paper will analyze compare government policies for social media in elections across 6 case countries. Through this comparison, we ask: 1) What policy approaches do governments adopt to regulate communication during elections, including foreign interference? 2) How and why do these policies vary across regions and regime types?


Comparing Foreign Election Interference: strategic containment of foreign influence activities across the Five Eyes security community -- the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand: Christian Leuprecht (RMC/Queen's), Holly Ann Garnett (RMC/Queen's), Sofia Caal-Lam (RMC/Queen's)
Abstract: Foreign Interference (FI) is one of the more vexing contemporary challenges to democracy and democratic institutions: Authoritarian state actors engage in subversion, subterfuge and sabotage by coercive, corruptive, clandestine and deceptive means to manipulate, undermine and delegitimize democratic processes and institutions. As such, FI poses a significant, and arguably existential, threat to national security. In recent years the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have all had to contend with foreign influence in general, and foreign election interference in particular. That is, such activities transpire on a continuum that ranges from influence to interference. Notwithstanding important differences in culture, strategy, geography, constitution and legal frameworks, the Five Eyes are sufficiently similar nonetheless as to offer an opportunity for a most-similar systems design to compare approaches and their effectiveness in containing FI. After framing the problem of foreign interference, the article offers an environmental scan of foreign influence activities in general, and foreign election interference activities in particular, including tampering, influence and information operations, and the way these have been deployed by adversarial actors across the five country case studies. The following section examines how each country deals with pre-election, election day and post-election cycle threats, as well as measures of effectiveness in each country’s approach. The paper concludes on findings and inferences on how to posture electoral integrity more resiliently against foreign influence activities in general that may be problematic but legal, and illegal and criminal foreign interference activities in particular.